I can dream. There are no limitations to mental frills, I know. It is for this weak and common reason that I conjure a list of books I dream to search, acquire and read starting at the first crack of the new year. These books provide focus and direction for my reading experience toward satisfying the restive reader in me. These books, though, when acquired, will add to the troublesome search for additional space upon which their covers will rest, emancipated from dust, heat and pest.
Despite all, writing this wish list is in itself satisfying. I may not be able to acquire all of them in print, my preference, within a year, but these are dreams and the very nature of dreams is enough to tickle to indescribable joy this easily tempted bookish heart.
The primary direction is gothic fiction, myself being a fan of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It was not my intention to overlook other possible long stories that share similar characteristics with the godforsaken macabre landscape of Thornfield Hall.
It was three storeys high, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman’s manor-house, not a nobleman’s seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look. Its grey front stood out well from the background of a rookery, whose cawing tenants were now on the wing: they flew over the lawn and grounds to alight in a great meadow, from which these were separated by a sunk fence, and where an array of mighty old thorn trees, strong, knotty, and broad as oaks, at once explained the etymology of the mansion’s designation. Farther off were hills: not so lofty as those round Lowood, nor so craggy, nor so like barriers of separation from the living world; but yet quiet and lonely hills enough, and seeming to embrace Thornfield with a seclusion I had not expected to find existent so near the stirring locality of Millcote. A little hamlet, whose roofs were blent with trees, straggled up the side of one of these hills; the church of the district stood nearer Thornfield: its old tower-top looked over a knoll between the house and gates. ~Chapter 11 of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Just when I thought I have read all retellings of the book with a five- or four- or even a three-star rated reviews, such as Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt, and Jane by April Lindner, I discovered more books that have the same gothic elements, with some of them poorly organized and already jammed tight in between my copies of books by David Sedaris and Sara Paretsky, just waiting patiently for its turn to be dislodged, inhaled, embraced and read.
Early this year, I slept with my copy of The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey, which I had convinced my father to buy for me many years ago while we were buying some office supplies. But I was not able to get past its first chapter (not yet) so at the time, I batted my eyelashes at other books. I also have in my possession The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, Villette by Charlotte Bronte, The House on the Strand and Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, and The Glass of Time by Michael Cox, all buried somewhere, probably under a tall pile of Philippine literature.
To accompany these titles, I dream for retellings of my favorite book, including Dragonwyck by Anya Seton, The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, Nine Coaches Waiting and The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart, and The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. This list will most likely grow in my course of discovering more Jane Eyre-ish books.
While venturing into that hideous course, I’ll explore other works with equally Cimmerian fictional elements–books that somehow escaped its way out of my already Classics-laden childhood–such as We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, The Monk by Matthew Lewis, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter, The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, and Moura by Virginia Coffman. (I will have to recheck all my Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt titles before I tattle away wish list titles that are already available on the personal shelf.)
On the side, as my breather from the ambience of the spectral and the bizarre, I will dip into books I find cozy enough to be accompanied with a half-glass of milk, such as The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, and The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, and perhaps some non-fiction pieces, including I am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action by Jackie Chan and Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman.
I can dream my bookish dreams. There are no limitations to mental frills, I know. The same goes with my book wish lists, which can increase in volume every year. Reader, I’m not guilty.